The big PlayStation event is over, and the PlayStation 4 has been officially revealed. While Sony is known for having poorly-paced conferences, with each opened by a discussion of the history of PlayStation and the company’s goals, this event was a great change of pace. Sony took the stage in a big way, delivering exactly the information that we wanted to see in such an announcement. For those of you who missed the show, we have all the information about the next-generation console right here.
The Technical Specs
Though the event was hosted by none other than Sony President Andrew House, the real focus was on Lead System Architect Mark Cerny. Cerny stepped on stage and delivered a speech full of ambition and positivity, detailing the system’s goals and design structure. The concept of “accessibility” and “ease of access” is Sony’s real focus for the next generation, adapting an architecture that is simple for developers to use. The console will be very similar to a “supercharged PC,” containing an eight-core x86 CPU to allow for easy development. The system contains an impressive 8GB of unified memory, which works directly with the system’s “highly enhanced GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)” to deliver top-of-the-line next-generation visuals. What does all of this mean? The PlayStation 4 is powerful. Cerny didn’t mention the specifics of the GPU being used, except that it is using GDDR5 Memory equivalent to high-end graphics cards, but overall it is a huge improvement over the PS3. With the system architecture being so close to PC, development will be easier than ever.
The new controller also made an appearance during one of the live demos, and it is not much different than the recently released prototype image. It features the traditional DualShock layout, with some attention paid to redesigning the analog sticks and triggers. However, there are a few brand-new features, including a touchpad, “Options” and “Share” buttons, as well as a “light bar” which will be used with an included camera to track the controllers movement, similar to the PlayStation Move device.
Sony knows that personal experiences are important to gamers, and has completely redesigned its user interface to create a unique experience for each user. The PlayStation 4 features a social environment that allows players to connect with their friends and other gamers in many different ways, while creating a personalized environment for individuals.
The console learns from your likes and dislikes, as well as the games you play, and even recommends and downloads new titles automatically. If the console believes that you are definitely going to want the next big blockbuster title, it will be installed onto your system before you even click the “Purchase” button, just so you don’t have to wait. “Instant Play” is another concept that Sony is exploring. Several times throughout the show, Cerny promised players that Sony will have “the fastest gaming network in the world,” allowing for a variety of possibilities. Gamers will no longer have to wait for downloads to finish before playing their new games; instead, the game can be played during the download process.
If Instant Play of new titles isn’t enough, Sony has partnered with Gaikai to potentially deliver instant access to a back catalog of PlayStation titles from all eras of the company.
All of your experiences can now be shared with your friends through the PlayStation 4’s new dedicated social network. All of your gameplay is now recorded, and with the touch of a button you can edit the video and upload it to the Sony servers for others to watch. The console also gives players the ability to broadcast their games live in a simple, easy to understand way. During the live broadcasts to friends, users can make comments onscreen, or even take over the video game controller from their own location to help in difficult areas of a game. It’s a unique feature that is sure to make a huge impression if it is utilized correctly. For those who want to share with the rest of the world, Sony has partnered with popular streaming site Ustream to allow live broadcasts worldwide.
The social features that are being put into place prove that Sony is once again looking at the future rather than staying in the moment. We have become a connected world, and it is that fact that has driven the company to develop a social console. Along with the new “Instant Play” mechanic, Sony is crafting a true next-gen experience.
Of course, the one thing that everyone wants to see is the new games we’ll be playing when the PlayStation 4 is finally released. Only a few first-party titles were revealed at the show, but all of them gave a good example of what we can expect from Sony’s new console.
SuckerPunch Studios took to the stage to reveal their brand-new game Infamous: Second Son. Set in a world where the government controls and watches every aspect of our lives, a select few have developed supernatural abilities. From the trailer, one individual in particular has decided to use his powers to fight the oppressive government. Check out the trailer below:
Mark Cerny himself revealed a project that he has been working on for several years now, entitled Knack. Not much information was given, but the trailer shows off the cartoonish world and cinematic storytelling featured in the game. Cerny, who is known for his work on both the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter franchise may have just created a new Sony mascot.
Racing-genre legend Evolution Studios announced their new project, DriveClub, a social racing experience where players form their own clubs to compete against others worldwide. The game will feature a first-person racing experience, as well as meticulously detailed real-world cars. Players can challenge others to races instantly, taking part in small one-on-one drag races to massive tournaments with hundreds of clubs participating.
Jonathan Blow, creator of the indie-classic Braid, is working on a new title for the PlayStation 4 entitled The Witness. The game puts you into an open world full of places to explore and puzzles to solve. The concept of the game is that each puzzle is built on an idea, with the overall theme revolving around epiphanies. Perry stated that even in a compact world, there are around 25 hours of gameplay.
Arguably the most impressive game featured in the event was the upcoming Killzone: Shadow Fall. Fans of the series will immediately notice the change in direction, as the game features a much more colorful setting. No story details were given, but the impressive live gameplay demo showed off the incredible graphics capabilities of the system.
Perhaps best of all is the announcement that Sony is looking to make every game compatible with Remote Play on the Vita, allowing you to play your games wherever you are.
3RD Party Support
One of the biggest questions going into a new console is whether or not the third-party developers will be supporting the new system. It’s safe to say that there is no need to worry about PlayStation 4. When developing their new console, Sony asked developers what they would like to see in the next-generation, and it sounds like they listened. During the event, they presented a video of several well-known developers discussing the PlayStation 4, including Tim Schafer of Double Fine and Alex Rigopulos of Harmonix.
Both Capcom and Square Enix made short presentations, stating they are working on new titles for the next generation. Capcom is currently building a game around their brand-new game engine ‘Panta Rhei’, while Square Enix is set to unveil a new Final Fantasy title at this year’s E3.
Not only have the majority of major publishers and developers signed on to support PS4, several are working to bring exclusive content to the system. Blizzard made the official announcement that they are bringing Diablo III to both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but the biggest surprise was the appearance of Bungie. Bungie presented more in-engine footage of their highly-anticipated game Destiny, and revealed that the studio is working on exclusive content for PlayStation consoles. The studio, which is known for the Microsoft exclusive Halo, is starting to turn its attention to Sony.
The Creative Console
The games that were shown all made a good impression, but the presentation that took the event by storm was Media Molecule’s section of the show. While they didn’t show off a game, they presented an interesting look at their next creative project. Using the PlayStation Move controllers, Media Molecule has built software that allows users to make their very own 3D models in an intuitive way. Not only can these models be created and shared, they can be animated and recorded in real-time using the Move controller. The company is set on giving players the tools they need to create their own projects, referring to PlayStation 4 as “The Creative Console.” The applause at the end of the presentation was full of excitement and cheers. To check out the demo, head to the 1:19:00 mark in the video below.
The Missing Pieces
Even with all of the information given, there are still a lot of questions about PlayStation 4. During the event, the actual design of the console was never shown. Most notably missing, however, was the presence of EA, who has been present at just about every Sony event in the past. Many were expecting an announcement from Sony-exclusive developer Naughty Dog about an upcoming PS4 project, which but so far there is no word. Luckily, we’ll be seeing much more of the console at E3 this year, including hands-on demos of these upcoming games. We’re sure to find out the exact release date and price of the console, but the good news is that it is coming during the 2013 holiday season.
ScienceFiction.com will have all the latest news as it is released.